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Jordan Heron - The Vanity Card Series

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By no means am I a political specialist or an expert in international relations. But I do think I have a reasonable brain between my slightly over-sized and uneven ears...

On the CBC the other day, they were asking "ordinary citizens" about what benefit the G20 and other Gn summits would bring to their area - to their local economy. Most of the citizens did not think the summits would benefit them much.

Now, I could rant about the myopic view of the ordinary person. I could wax poetic (well, I could try anyway) about how they just don't see the larger picture, and the importance of world meetings. I could, but I'd rather rant about the CBC interviewers.

CBC, why do you lead people into such traps? The benefit of a summit of world leaders is NOT that their bodyguards will eat at the local McDonalds. Why are you asking about the "local benefit" in the first place? It's not responsible. It is setting up your ordinary citizen to give you a petty answer, because you asked a petty question.

The benefit of world leaders getting together is that this is how business is done. This is how connections are made. This is how progress, and yes, lack of progress, is made. There is a lot of technology today that allows instant communications around the globe. But one of my tenet's of human faith is still true, harsh as it might be:

"You are much more likely to screw over someone you've never met than someone you've shaken hands with and shared a meal beside."

People are people, from the lowest peasant to the highest ruler. People like to KNOW people. Not through email or video conference. Face to face.

I'm not a techno-phobe. The instant communication world we have is great. But it doesn't mean we don't have to see each other. It means that the face time, when it comes, can be more productive, because email has allowed us to already hash out the preliminaries. It allows more business, more progress, to be made when we do finally meet.

That's the benefit of the summit - connections can be made, progress can be seen. Eventually. (After all, we are talking about politicians here...)

So, what's the benefit to Canada? (As opposed to the local economy.) Because all the countries, everyone, has to step up. Backing away from hosting a G20 because security is too expensive (which has been in the news a lot lately) is just silly. You're a world player, or you're not. If we're not willing to pay up a measley billion dollar in security costs, we should bow out, let someone else lead, and not complain about the results.

Personally, I'd rather we paid to host the meetings once in a while, and have a seat at the table.

To those who question the meetings in the first place, because there are so many other ways the money could be used? Well, to quote Jesus Christ Superstar: "There will be poor always, pathetically struggling. Look at the good things you've got."

If we wait to have world summits until all the poor are housed and all the hungry are fed, then we'll never have a meeting.

"Good", you say. "Bad", I say.

To modify my statement above:

"You are much more likely to nuke from space someone you've never met than someone you've shaken hands with and shared a meal beside."

If we don't let these folks meet up once in a while, not only do we lose our chance for progress, I sincerely believe they will kill all of us.

02 June 2010

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